How to Develop Content Your Constituents Will Want to Read

This week I tweeted about an article by Lisa Sargent which described how nonprofits can learn from how the Wall Street Journal develops content for many different formats / channels.  Lisa relates how nonprofits can follow a similar process to distribute content to interviews, press releases, website articles, enewsletters and other donor / marketing  communications.  Since this is an issue organizations often struggle with, here’s some additional thoughts:

  1. Not all information will be appropriate for all formats.  Replicating content across different media without any adjustments won’t be effective.
  2. Generally, the shorter and more targeted, the better.  The only place where long messages seem to work well is in direct mail;  especially if you’re developing content for the web, you need to get the information across quickly and concisely.
  3. Accumulate stories / testimonials about how your nonprofit serves your constituents. Actively seek feedback from your audience so you will regularly have fresh content to draw from.
  4. Show your donors how their help has made a difference.  Do this by regular reports about what their contributions have allowed you to accomplish.
  5. When you use content in different ways in different channels, reference them to each other.  Link a tweet to a website page which provides more detail.
  6. Find out what others are saying about your cause (e.g. use Google Alerts), then link and expand upon these ideas in your communications (as I do in this blog).
  7. Maintain an integrated communications calendar of when you will update various channels – and keep to that schedule so constituents know what to expect.   See Aspiration’s Online Communications Publishing Matrix if you need help.

Developing interesting and engaging content takes work, but by staying in touch regularly with your constituents, they will be more responsive to your occasional requests for financial support.

Author: Norman Reiss

ePhilanthropy for Nonprofit Organizations